Scorpions case: Carrim calls for support for new unit

2008-10-23 00:00

Cape Town — “We are not, simply not, going to hand this country of ours over to organised criminals! No way! You can be sure of that!” These were the words of Yunus Carrim, chairman of Parliament’s justice committee, during debate on the Scorpions bills yesterday.

As the National Assembly voted in favour of two bills — the SA Police Service Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill — which serve to disband the Scorpions and allow for them to be incorporated into the SA Police Service, Carrim called on opposition parties to work together to make the new unit work.

“Of course we’ll have our differences, but crime is too important an issue for us to polarise the country over. We have a common goal, surely, in reducing organised crime and corruption,” Carrim said.

Earlier, at a press conference, Carrim and his Safety and Security committee counterpart, Maggie Sotyu, assured journalists that the new unit will not be compromised in cases such as the corruption charges against national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

“The independence of the unit is guaranteed,” Sotyu said. “Why should Selebi be treated differently? Even if the president has to be investigated, he must be investigated. We don’t want to lose any case.”

Carrim pointed out that the new legislation provides for an independent complaints

division, so that the organised crime unit cannot be accused of being politically biased. “There are other institutions to ensure oversight, such as the office of the Public Protector, but ultimately it is the role of Parliament to oversee the role of this unit,” Carrim said.

Carrim said no one in the ANC believes the new model is perfect. “But enough of us say this unit is workable. Give it a chance. Let it develop. This is work in progress.”

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